10 hottest Vancouver arts shows in March: Elbow Room (the musical) and the new Dance Revolution

Feb 28 2017, 3:05 am

An eclectic mix of themes hits Vancouver stages this month, with dispositions ranging from sunny side up to dark and stormy. Kind of like the weather outside, when you think about it!

Dance is huge in March, with the Vancouver International Dance Festival and Ballet BC hitting up QE Theatre and other downtown venues. Another oddity for So You Think You Can Dance fans is a large-scale production of After The Curtain, by SYTYCD alumni Trevor Wall.

Social justice causes are also big on the minds of theatre makers, with two productions dealing with the Canadian refugee experience, and one focusing on the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline.

If more light-hearted fare floats your boat, don’t miss a true Vancouver special with Elbow Room Café: The Musical.

Whatever your preference, go the extra mile and commit to attending at least one show this month. In tumultuous times like these, spending on your local arts scene remains one of the soundest investments around.

See also

Bonjour, là, bonjour – Théâtre la Seizième

Image: Emily Cooper

Michel Tremblay is known as the father of contemporary Québecois theatre, and his work Bonjour, là, bonjour is rarely produced – especially on this side of the country. The play revolves around forbidden love, as well as the difficult communication between family members. Measure how dysfunctional your family really is alongside Bonjour’s memorable characters.

Where: Studio 16 – 1545 West 7th Avenue

When: Until March 11 (English subtitles on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays)

Tickets: At Brown Paper Tickets, $26-$30

Elbow Room Café: The Musical – Zee Zee Theatre

Image: David Cooper

The Elbow Room, one of Vancouver’s most notorious diners, is getting its own musical this month. The show will celebrate the lives of cafe owners Bryan and Patrice, who anchor the musical’s campy cast of misfits, drag queens, and the perpetually hung over. Come see Elbow Room Café: The Musical for a serving of verbal abuse along with your scrambled eggs.

Where: York Theatre – 639 Commercial Drive

When: Until March 12

Tickets: At The Cultch, $10-$54

Vancouver International Dance Festival

Image: Jessika Hunter

Celebrate dance in a big way this month, as VIDF headlines at the Vancouver Playhouse with San Francisco’s Alonzo King LINES Ballet and Japan’s Dairakudakan. There’s also a variety of approachable free shows to whet the interest of newbies and dance aficionados alike – our money’s on Vancouver-based OURO’s breaking, popping, waacking hip-hop ways.

Where: Various Locations

When: Until March 25

Tickets: At VIDF, $15-$60

Guilty Conscience – Metro Theatre

Image: Tracy-Lynn Chernaske

A cheating lawyer decides to off his wife, in order to stave off hefty alimony payments. As Making a Murderer proved, we’re fascinated by high-profile cases. Guilty Conscience takes you into the courtroom of Arthur Jamison’s mind, as he pits himself against an imaginary prosecutor. But it’s not a crime unless it’s real… right?

Where: Metro Theatre – 1370 SW Marine Drive

When: March 3 to 25

Tickets: At Metro Theatre, $15-$24

The Pipeline Project – Gateway Theatre

Image: David Cooper

Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline continues to concern many Vancouverites, and this new work gets its premiere presentation at Richmond’s Gateway Theatre this month. The play is presented in the round and told from the perspective of three theatrical artists – two First Nations and one white. The second half is a facilitated presentation with a different speaker each night, representing different perspectives and interest-groups surrounding the proposed pipeline construction.

Where: Gateway Theatre – 6500 Gilbert Road, Richmond

When: March 9 to 18

Tickets: At Gateway Theatre, $29

Twelfth Night – Western Gold Theatre

Image: Ellie O’Day

This all-senior production shows the longevity of Vancouver’s local theatre community, as the aptly chosen Twelfth Night features twelve actors over twelve performances. Shakespeare’s shipwrecked twins are brought to life by local veteran actors in staged readings, in this classical rom-com of sexual ambiguity and mistaken identity.

Where: PAL Studio Theatre – 581 Cardero Street, 8th Floor

When: March 9 to 18

Tickets: At Brown Paper Tickets, $27

Program 2 – Ballet BC

Image: Michael Slobodian

Ballet BC’s Program 2 features local choreographers, gathering together Canadian talent to celebrate our country’s 150th birthday. Company 605, Wen Wei Dance and Lesley Telford all presenting new works, along with Crystal Pite’s critically-acclaimed Solo Echo getting a remount.

Where: Queen Elizabeth Theatre – 650 Hamilton Street

When: March 16 to 18

Tickets: At Ticketmaster, $22-$92

Refuge – Firehall Arts Centre

Image: Emily Cooper

An East African army deserter lands in Nova Scotia in hopes of reuniting with his mother, who already has refugee status. Refuge is a story highlighting our suspicions between refugee and terrorist, and the difficult questions about who we let in during these tumultuous times. Based on a CBC Radio documentary, Refuge is “a provocative story of the pitfalls of seeking sanctuary in today’s suspicious world.”

Where: Firehall Arts Centre – 280 E. Cordova Street

When: March 18 to April 1

Tickets: At Firehall Arts Centre, $23-$33

The Refugee Hotel – Studio 58

Image: Emily Cooper

Another play about refugees and asylum-seekers, The Refugee Hotel is a dark comedy that brings the struggle close to home. Set in a rundown West End Vancouver hotel in 1974, eight Chilean exiles struggle with the effects of fleeing their unstable homeland. The play is written and directed by Studio 58 alumna Carmen Aguirre, and parallels her family’s experiences as political refugees to Vancouver.

Where: Studio 58, Langara College – 100 West 49th Avenue

When: March 23 to April 9

Tickets: At Tickets Tonight, $20-$25

After The Curtain – Shaping Sound

Image: Matthew Murphy

Anyone remember So You Think You Can Dance? The show where beautiful young people competed for votes through a mix of dance talent and popularity contest? One of those contestants (season two, if we’re being specific), Travis Wall, has gone on to dance acclaim – winning a 2015 Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography, as well as choreographing for the likes of Justin Bieber and Demi Lovato. Wall’s dance company, Shaping Sound, is unveiling their second work After The Curtain, and will be stopping in Vancouver for one night only.

Where: Queen Elizabeth Theatre – 650 Hamilton Street

When: March 25

Tickets: At Tickets Tonight, $45-$88